Traditional taxis too flout rules, but govt looks the other way

Traditional taxis too flout rules, but govt looks the other way

The Transport Department in the State was quick to clamp down on taxis belonging to cab booking firms after an Uber cab driver allegedly raped a woman passenger in Delhi earlier this month, but it appears to have turned a blind eye to the thousands of traditional taxis plying in Bengaluru and other cities in clear violation of permits.

In the last few days, the department booked 400 taxis, mostly associated with cab booking firms, for various violations. Only 3,500 out of the 71,000-odd taxis in the State have permits to ply from point to point in Bengaluru. But on the City’s roads, there are up to 20,000 traditional taxis, picking travellers from point to point.

Most of the traditional taxi operators plying in the City limits have state or all-India permits, according to a source in the department. And on top of that, many of these taxis do not even have the Global Positioning System (GPS) installed in them.

This is helped by customers who hardly bother about such measures as the taxi drivers charge them a lump sum without giving a bill, an official in the department said.

It suits most taxi operators to get a state or all-India permit as that gives them freedom to ply long distance as well as in the City. Rules stipulate that state or all-India permit cabs can only pass through the City but cannot ply from point to point within the city, sources said.

There are hundreds of private vehicles in Bengaluru that double up as taxis at night right under the authorities’ nose. These vehicles are owned by individuals who convert them into taxis at night. With government buses keeping off the roads at night, these private vehicles provide the much-needed alternative. They do not pay the commercial road tax either.

An official in the transport department said, “It is very difficult to check these taxis as these are essentially private vehicles like any other on the road. It’s hard to determine if travellers in these vehicles are customers or family members.”

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